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WHAT OTHERS SAY: Flush arrogant gun policy in Missouri

Friday, September 27, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

The majority of Missouri lawmakers are clear that they support the carrying of concealed guns just about anywhere, anytime.

Missouri legislators in 2011 passed a law allowing themselves and their employees to carry weapons inside the Capitol if they have a permit. It seemed at the time like an arrogant, unwise move. The bathroom fiasco, which has brought widespread ridicule to Missouri, only reinforces that impression.

But really, the men’s room in the state Capitol basement?

That’s where a staffer of House Majority Leader Tim Jones left a loaded handgun last Friday. Atop a toilet paper dispenser, to be precise.

The faux pas by David Evans isn’t likely to diminish the legislature’s enthusiasm for passing bills that please gun makers. But it might make it a bit more difficult to declare in speeches that concealed carry permit holders are by nature a careful, responsible group, and should have access to just about any public or private building.

Legislators in 2011 passed a law allowing themselves and their employees to carry weapons inside the Capitol if they have a permit, which Evans does. It seemed at the time like an arrogant, unwise move. The bathroom fiasco only reinforces that impression.

It could have been much worse, though. From January through May, the Capitol in Jefferson City is swarming with visitors, including hundreds of school children. Even on Friday, Missouri State Museum tour guides showed 82 adults and 12 children around the building. A loaded gun left in a very public area could easily result in a tragedy. As it was, the weapon was discovered by a legislative staffer and turned over to Capitol police.

A spokesman for Jones’ office said Evans, 64, had apologized and had been instructed to take a gun safety course.

Better later than never, we suppose.

Copyright The Kansas City Star. Reprinted with permission.


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